We’ve officially hit the dead-zone in the NFL calendar. The weeks between the Super Bowl and the ramp-up to the NFL draft and free agency can be a wasteland of little news or interest.
Filling the void often comes from a bevy of “What if…?” storylines.
Perhaps one of the biggest “What ifs” of this generation is contemplating what the sports landscape would look like if LeBron James pulled a Michael Jordan and switched sports, at least for a spell.
During the 2011 NBA lockout, a then-26-year-old James had an offer to try out for the Dallas Cowboys. In a recent interview with The Athletic, James said that the Seattle Seahawks also sent him a jersey with an offer to work out.
“I always think about it,” James said of a potential football career.
The 2011 NBA lockout came after James’ Miami Heat fell in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. With the star receiving the brunt of the blame for the loss, and the uncertainty due to the lockout, James considered leaping to football.
“I would have made the team,” he said. “I would have tried out, but I would have made the team. One thing about it, I don’t mind working for something, so if I would have had to try out for the Cowboys or the Seahawks, or if I’d have stayed home and went back home to Cleveland, I’d have tried (out), but I would have made the team. I just know what I’m capable of doing on the football field. Especially at that age.”
If we allow ourselves to indulge in the fantasy for a moment, at 6-foot-9, James could have become the most prolific tight end in the NFL if he was a full-time football player. His size and athleticism are rare in any field. Injuries for a player of that size are always a concern, but the increased protection for players would have helped a transition. Perhaps he wouldn’t have the straight-end speed to burn out on the edge, but his combo of talent suggests he could have been a difference-maker as a pass-catcher.
James hadn’t played football since his junior year of high school. It was always clear he was going to play in the NBA, but that didn’t stop colleges like Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida, and others from recruiting him as a receiver.
James, who has since gone on to win four NBA titles, said he’s never lost his love for football.
“Before I had aspirations of owning an NBA team, I always talked about how cool it would be to be a high school football coach,” James said. “Be it a head coach or an offensive coordinator. Some Andy Reid-type shit where I’m making crazy plays. I just love the sport. I watch it all the time. It’s just in me. It’s how I grew up.”
Thus concludes this edition of “What if…?” Tune in next time. (There will definitely be a next time.)
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